MARIETTA, Ga. - Family trees come in all shapes and sizes. But for the Weatherby family of Marietta, the tree is definitely a big, festive evergreen.
"My earliest memories are actually sitting in the office with my mom,” says Gabby Weatherby. "I would sit there and play computer games and pass out candy canes.”
Weatherby grew up on her family’s famed metro Atlanta Christmas tree lots — a tradition for both her family and many others for several decades.
"My great-grandfather, L.S. Weatherby, started the first Christmas tree lot in 1963,” she says. "He went to Texas and saw the first free-standing Christmas tree lot, and was like, ‘That's a great idea.’ So, he brought it back.”
L.S. Weatherby’s son Renay helped grow the business — as did Renay's own two sons — until Weatherby lots dotted metro Atlanta like Christmas lights. But in 2012, following a tough hit by the recession and Renay’s move to Florida, the family closed up shop.
And yet, the nearly 50 years of stories lived on.
"All I've ever heard was ‘Christmas trees, Christmas trees, Christmas trees,’ ever since I started dating Gabby,” says Gabby’s boyfriend, Chase Stone. And hearing all those stories gave Stone an idea.
"I said, ‘Hey, why don't we do it this year? I've got the free time, my business is going to slow down. You know, I'm a business that's 10 months out of the year. The other two months could be Christmas trees.’”
The rest of the family jumped at the chance to bring back their lot to metro Atlanta, and on Black Friday, the Weatherby Christmas Tree tradition was reborn. This year’s lot is located at 731 Whitlock Avenue, in the parking lot of Supershow Fireworks. Not only is the new lot bringing the Weatherby family back to its roots — they say their goal is to also help other local families brighten up a difficult year.
“If we're going to do it, I guess this year's the year," Gabby Weatherby says. "It's been a rough one, and I think it's great to bring back a little ‘Merry’…to Marietta."
Click here for more information on Weatherby Christmas Trees.
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